Harness Races Added to the Draw for the 2019 Langlade County Fair
March 28, 2019
Antigo Daily Journal
Horsepower - the real kind - returns to the racetrack at the Langlade County Fair this summer.
Decades after iron horses replaced the equine variety as an attraction, the exposition will welcome the Wisconsin Harness Racing Association's trotters and pacers for a Sunday, July 28 afternoon program.
“We're getting back to our roots,” Fair Administrator Rhonda Klement said. “That's what started the fair.”
Indeed, the first fair dates to 1886, when horses were king, and the Antigo Trotting Association led by Charles Tiepner conducted trotting and running races, By the next year the agricultural Society and County Board purchased 40 acres - the nucleus of the present-day fairgrounds, and “they were off.”
Trotting and pacing races were so popular that businesses closed to allow everyone to attend the fairgrounds' events.
Harness racing remains popular at fairs across Wisconsin and the state association would like to get Antigo back on its regular circuit, Klement said.
While the harness races are a new take on an old draw, horsepower of a different sort will still be front and center, Klement said.
Harness racing and winged sprint cars will both compete on the
racetrack as part of the Langlade County Fair July 24 through 28.
The grandstand lineup will include the return of the IRA winged sprint cars on Friday, July 26; the always-popular demolition derby featuring many local drivers on Saturday, July 27; and the fair-capping tractor pull, again with many local participants and machines, on Sunday, July 28, well after the harness horses are back in their stables.
The musical lineup will include The Holy Rocka Rollaz, Seth Cook, Billy Shears, a high energy variety band, the Drovers, the return of the Memories and the always-popular Vic Ferrari.
Comic juggler Fantastick Patrick will be on the multipurpose building stage and award-winning magician Chris Yantek will stroll the midway.
The midway will also include the Ready Set Grow Agricultural Magic Show featuring Farmer Ed, perfect for this year's theme of “Moo on Down.”
The fair will also include expanded wristband options for carnival rides, Klement said.
Planning for this year's fair comes on the heels of modest $10,000 profit for the 2018 exposition, Klement said, an amount trimmed by expenses for the development of a new website to streamline ticketing and other promotional opportunities.
“We had some big electronic advancements this year,” Klement said.
All profits are funneled into the Langlade County 4-H programs.
The complete fair lineup and schedule will be announced in few weeks.